Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department of Insurance is responding to COVID-19 with a series of steps to protect public health and maintain a strong insurance market to serve consumers. We are supporting actions by our state and local public health leaders to mitigate the spread and severity of COVID-19. We hope you find the following information useful.
The Department is maintaining operations to assist consumers.
- If you are experiencing a problem with an insurance matter, please visit our online Consumer Complaint Center to file a complaint.
- General insurance questions and inquiries can be submitted online, using our Contact Us form, or call us at 1-800-927-4357.
The following links provide useful information on current developments of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the California Department of Public Health and other agencies.
- Local California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response by County
- California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- Employment Development Department
- Department of Business Oversight, Guidance to Premium Finance Companies
All Lines of Insurance
What if I cannot pay my insurance premiums?
Requesting a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums - On March 18, 2020, the Department issued a Notice requesting all insurance companies provide their policyholders with at least a 60-day grace period to pay their premiums.
Consumers should contact their insurance company if they need additional time to pay their premium.
I am driving less or my business is closed -- can I reduce my insurance premium?
Ordering insurance companies to return insurance premiums to consumers and businesses - Commissioner Lara ordered insurance companies to return premiums to consumers and businesses in at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers' compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice, and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date this action has saved consumers more than $1.2 billion in premiums and will continue as long as the risk of loss is reduced due to the pandemic.
What about deadlines from my insurance? Am I at risk of losing my benefits if I do not meet them?
- No — you will not lose benefits such as additional living expenses related to a residential loss during the COVID-19 emergency.
- Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a Notice instructing all insurance companies to stop enforcing policy or statutory deadlines on policyholders for claims or coverage until 90 days after the statewide “state of emergency” or any other “state of emergency” has ended related to COVID-19. The Commissioner issued this to protect policyholders from losing, limiting, or waiving policy benefits as a result of the current national state of emergency.
Does my health insurance cover COVID-19 testing?
Yes. Effective January 1, 2022, California Insurance Code section 10110.7 requires that health insurers must cover COVID-19 testing, including the test itself and any related provider fees, such as cost sharing for an office or urgent care visit for test administration, without cost-sharing (copayment, coinsurance, or deductible). Health insurers must cover testing from any provider regardless of whether the provider participates in the network, as well as for both diagnostic and asymptomatic screening purposes, without requiring prior authorization.
In addition, on January 10, the Biden Administration announced that health insurers must cover free over-the-counter at-home tests without an order from a provider. This means that under federal law, starting January 15, 2022, health insurers must:
- Cover up to eight (8) FDA-approved or authorized over-the-counter at-home tests for each insured person every month. That means a family of four on the same health insurance policy would be able to get up to 32 tests per month (or 16 boxes of tests packaged 2 to a box). But, there is still no limit for tests that are ordered by a provider.
- Cover over-the-counter tests without a provider’s order.
- Cover over-the-counter tests without any cost-sharing requirements such as deductibles, co-payments or coinsurance (your insurer may require you to pay for the tests up-front and submit a claim for reimbursement).
- Cover over-the-counter test purchases without prior authorization, or any other medical management requirements.
- Cover over-the counter tests purchased from any source as follows:
- If available through in-network pharmacies and direct shipping: If an insurer covers over-the-counter COVID-19 tests purchased directly from network retail pharmacies and provides a direct-to-consumer shipping option, without requiring up-front payment to obtain tests from those sources, federal law permits the insurer to limit reimbursement for tests obtained from other, non-network sources to $12 per test (or the actual cost, if lower).
- If not available through in-network pharmacies and direct shipping: If an insurer does not make tests available from network retail pharmacies and direct-to-consumer shipping without requiring up-front payment, the insurer must reimburse the full cost paid for the test. A receipt and claim for reimbursement should be submitted to the insurer within 90 days of purchase, and no later than one year after purchase.
- Commissioner’s COVID-19 Testing and Coverage Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) # 1, October 2, 2020.
- Eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing – On March 5, Governor Gavin Newsom and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara directed insurance companies to eliminate co-pays, deductibles and other costs related to screening and testing for COVID-19.
- Commissioner’s Press Release: March 5, 2020 – Waiver of Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Testing
- Commissioner’s Bulletin to Insurers: March 5, 2020: COVID-19 Screening and Testing
- As California increases the capacity for testing, consumers should contact their doctor and state and local public health agency for more information. Consumers with concerns or complaints about accessing care for COVID‑19 under their health insurance policy may also contact the Department’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-927-4357 or file a Request for Assistance online.
- Treatment for COVID-19 and related illnesses is covered by health insurance under your plan. Review your plan or contact your insurance company if you have questions about cost-sharing and other charges for in-network or emergency care.
What if I don’t have health insurance?
- Urging uninsured Californians to obtain insurance to protect their health - On March 20, 2020, Commissioner Lara urged uninsured Californians and those who have lost coverage due to COVID-19 to purchase health coverage through Covered California, or through health plans and health insurers offering coverage outside the health insurance benefits exchange, during a new special enrollment period.
- Consumers can find out if they are eligible for financial help and see which plans are available in their area by using Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool and entering their ZIP code, household income, and the ages of those who need coverage.
- If you have a substantial loss of income, subsidies available through Covered California may pay for almost all of your premium, or you may qualify for low or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal.
- Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:
- Visit www.CoveredCA.com.
- Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.
What else is the Department doing to protect California health consumers?
- Directing health insurance companies to submit emergency plans on prescriptions and health access - On March 18, 2020 Commissioner Lara directed health insurance companies to submit emergency plans detailing how they will ensure continued access to medically necessary health care services for the duration of the declared COVID 19 state of emergency. These include allowing for 90-day prescription drug refills, suspending refill waiting periods for all drug tiers, including specialty drugs, and maximizing Telehealth to help health insurance policyholders who are sheltered in place.
Directing health insurance companies to provide increased Telehealth access for consumers - On March 30, 2020, Commissioner Lara and the California Department of Insurance directed health insurance companies to provide increased Telehealth access for consumers during the declared COVID-19 state of emergency. Health insurance companies must continue to provide access to medically necessary care and California policyholders should be able to access medically necessary health care without physically visiting their provider in person, when clinically appropriate.
What if my driver’s license expires or my registration lapses? How does that affect my auto insurance?
Maintaining auto insurance for those with expired license or registration - On March 16, the Department of Motor Vehicles asked law enforcement to use discretion in enforcement of drivers license and vehicle registrations. On March 18, 2020 Commissioner Lara issued a Notice calling on auto insurers to refrain from using the expiration date of policyholder's drivers licenses or Vehicle Registration to affect a driver's ability to secure and maintain auto insurance coverage, affect a driver’s eligibility for a Good Driver discount, to determine eligibility for a California Low Cost Automobile policy, or to impact the rates charged to any driver. The DMV has extended non-commercial driver licenses expiring between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 to May 31, 2020, and commercial driver licenses expiring between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for individuals 69 years old and younger.
What auto insurance protections are in place for delivery drivers working for essential businesses?
- Extending personal auto coverage for delivery drivers for California’s essential businesses – On April 10, Commissioner Lara and the California Department of Insurance issued a notice requesting insurance companies extend auto insurance coverage for drivers who are using their personal vehicles to fulfill deliveries for California’s essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This action ensures that businesses can continue to provide essential goods to residents and families at their homes and that delivery workers are protected at all times so that they may continue their work critical to public health and safety.
What if I have lost my job or am unable to work due to COVID-19?
- Governor Newsom's March 12 Executive Order spelled out several steps that employees can take if they lose their jobs or are unable to work due to COVID-19. These include disability and unemployment insurance, paid family leave for caregivers, and workers’ compensation if you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of your work.
- The Governor waived the one-week waiting period for employees who are unemployed or become disabled as a result of COVID-19. Learn more here: About EDD: Coronavirus-2019
- Check out OnwardCA connecting COVID-19 displaced workers with over 70,000 job opportunities in critical industries.
Business Interruption Insurance
Does workers’ compensation insurance apply to COVID-19?
Yes. On May 6, Governor Newsom signed an executive order extending workers’ compensation eligibility for workers who were exposed to or contracted COVID-19. This order applies to any workers who tested positive or were diagnosed with COVID-19 after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, and within 14 days of performing a labor or service at a place of work. This is a rebuttable presumption, meaning that employers will have a chance to prove that the illness is not work-related. The presumption will stay in place for 60 days from the date of the executive order.
- The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency have posted information regarding COVID-19 on their websites, including a chart of available benefits, FAQs, and information regarding available benefits such as disability insurance, paid family leave, and unemployment insurance seen here:
- Information from Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)
- Information from the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA)
How will COVID-19 affect the cost of workers’ compensation insurance for business?
While it is too soon to know how COVID-10 will affect the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, Commissioner Lara has taken steps to reduce premiums for affected businesses.
- Commissioner Lara issued an Order on June 17, adopting Emergency workers' compensation regulations in response to COVID-19 Pandemic. These new regulations will mandate insurance companies to re-compute premium charges for policyholders to reflect reduced risk of loss.
- Commissioner Lara directed insurance companies to refund workers’ compensation premiums in his April 13, 2020 Bulletin and May 15, 2020 Bulletin, which will result in savings for many policyholders as businesses continue to struggle financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department is working with state and local agencies to respond to fraud and ongoing scams. Our Enforcement staff will continue to investigate insurance fraud and work with our law enforcement partners to protect California consumers and businesses. The following websites provide information about Coronavirus scams.
Click here for information on some of the ongoing scams the Department of Insurance is working to combat.
- Federal Trade Commission
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
- Coalition Against Insurance Fraud
My safety net eligibility (like CalFresh, Medi-Cal) is expiring. Do I need to renew my eligibility now?
- No, you will not need to renew for 90 days. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to ensure that health care, food assistance, and in-home supportive services continue during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The order waives eligibility re-determinations for 90 days for participants in:
- Medi-Cal health coverage
- CalFresh food assistance
- Cash Assistance for Immigrants
- In-Home Supportive Services
Is the Department of Insurance maintaining operations?
In light of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 12 enhancing state and local government’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department has instituted steps to maintain operations while protecting public health.
- Maintaining our fiscal oversight of the insurance industry to ensure rates are non-discriminatory, not excessive, and adequate.
- Ensuring that licensing of agents and brokers continues uninterrupted in order to support small businesses and employment.
- Transitioning public meetings to online and postponing non-essential meetings in order to ensure government transparency and public health.
- Premium Refund to Reflect Cost Savings Associated with Underutilization of Health Services Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
- Bulletin 2020-8 Premium Refunds, Credits, and Reductions in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
- Bulletin 2020-4 Premium Refunds, Credits, and Reductions in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
- Bulletin 2020-3 Premium Refunds, Credits, and Reductions in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
- Bulletin 2020-2 COVID-19 Screening and Testing
- Bulletin 2020-1 Mandatory Moratorium on Residential Non-Renewals Pursuant to Insurance Code Section 675.1(b), 2nd Amended 2/3/20
- Premium Refund to Reflect Cost Savings Associated with Underutilization of Health Services Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
- Notice of Extended Grace Period for Insurance Premium Payments Due to the Disruption Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 Protection for Policyholders from Unfair Settlement Practices
- Expired Drivers Licenses and Insurance
- Automatic Extension for Premium Tax Filing and Payment During COVID-19 State of Emergency
- Requirement to Accept, Forward, Acknowledge, and Fairly Investigate All Business Interruption Insurance Claims Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Coverage for Delivery Drivers for California Essential Businesses During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- Compliance with Regulatory Filing and Submittal Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- Prelicensing Requirements During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Extension of Policyholder Deadlines that Impact Claims or Coverage Due to the current State of Emergency Caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
- Notice re: Telehealth During COVID-19 State of Emergency
- Request for Information: Business Interruption and Related Coverage in California
- Guidance on "Essential Businesses" and Insurance
- Insurance Laws COVID-19 Notice
- Billing Grace Period Notice
- Drivers License Registration Notice
- Emergency Notification Filing Requirements COVID-19